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Object of the Month

Commemorative coin from the visit of Edward VII in July 1909

coin

This coin was produced to commemorate King Edward VII’s visit to Rugby on Saturday 3rd July 1909. The coin was presented in a red coin box and was produced by S. Underwood Jewellers for the Rugby Urban District Council.

The purpose of King Edward VII’s visit to Rugby in July 1909 was to officially open the newly built Temple Speech Room at Rugby School. As this was the first time a reigning monarch had visited the town, however, his visit was also met with great enthusiasm from local residents.

The King travelled by train from Euston to Rugby on the London and North-Western Railway, and he was received at the station by the Rugby Urban District Council. (Image 2004.39)

On leaving the station, the King was greeted by crowds of excited spectators.

coin

coin

The Rugby Advertiser reported that: “[…] a thrill of enthusiasm ran through the crowd, and the quality of Rugby’s welcome could be gauged, not in volume of sound alone, which spoke for its heartiness, but also in the smiling faces and waving handkerchiefs, with which everywhere the King was greeted. There was not one dissonant note – nothing but one chorus of loyalty and devotion to the most popular ruler of modern times” (The Advertiser, Saturday 10 July 1909, p.2).

From the station, the King travelled to Rugby School via Brownsover Mill Road, Murray Road, Whitehall Road, and Hillmorton Road, accompanied by the Warwickshire Yeomanry.

Once he had officially opened the Temple Speech Room and planted an oak tree in front of School House Hall, the King left Rugby School and proceeded along High Street towards Market Place, where he was yet again greeted by rapturous crowds.

The town was well-decorated for the King’s visit. The streets were adorned with bunting, flags and flowers, as well as arches bearing quotes from Shakespeare, such as “Never King of England had more loyal subjects” from Henry V and “This way the King will come” from Richard II (Image 2004.20)

Stands were also erected at various points along the route of the Royal Procession in order to accommodate spectators. One such stand was erected at the corner of Murray Road, where a ticket cost 5 shillings.

The British Thomson-Houston Company (BTH) also arranged for the Benn Buildings to be illuminated with a design featuring the words “Floreat Rugbeia” surmounted by a crown. The Gas Company offices, too, were lit up with a display of coloured lamps with “E.R.” and the words “God bless the King”.

The festivities for the King’s visit continued into the evening. The Rugby Town Prize Band played for dancing at the Recreation Ground, and later there was a firework display by Messrs. Wilder of Birmingham.

A carnival was also held at the BTH Athletic Club Ground on Clifton Road, where some of the events included a donkey race, a fancy dress and cycle parade, and a treacle bun competition for boys.

The streets were once again lined with enthusiastic spectators when, after a short stay at Coton House, the King passed through Rugby again on Monday morning on his way to Lancashire. As the King’s train departed the station, a Royal salute was fired from the Willans & Robinson works.